The association of a supernova with GRB0303291,2 strongly supports the ‘collapsar’ model3 of γ-ray bursts, where a relativistic jet4 forms after the progenitor star collapses. Such jets cannot be spatially resolved because γ-ray bursts lie at cosmological distances; their existence is instead inferred from ‘breaks’ in the light curves of the afterglows, and from the theoretical desire to reduce the estimated total energy of the burst by proposing that most of it comes out in narrow beams. Temporal evolution of the polarization of the afterglows5,6,7 may provide independent evidence for the jet structure of the relativistic outflow. Small-level polarization (∼1–3 per cent)8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17 has been reported for a few bursts, but its temporal evolution has yet to be established. Here we report polarimetric observations of the afterglow of GRB030329. We establish the polarization light curve, detect sustained polarization at the per cent level, and find significant variability. The data imply that the afterglow magnetic field has a small coherence length and is mostly random, probably generated by turbulence, in contrast with the picture arising from the high polarization detected in the prompt γ-rays from GRB021206 (ref. 18).
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Stanek, K. Z. et al. Spectroscopic discovery of the supernova 2003dh associated with GRB 030329. Astrophys. J. 591, L17–L20 (2003)
Hjorth, J. et al. A very energetic supernova associated with the γ-ray burst of 29 March 2003. Nature 423, 847–850 (2003)
Woosley, S. E., Eastman, R. G. & Schmidt, B. P. Gamma-ray bursts and type Ic supernova SN 1998bw. Astrophys. J. 516, 788–796 (1999)
Mészáros, P. Theories of gamma-ray bursts. Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 40, 137–169 (2002)
Sari, R. Linear polarization and proper motion in the afterglow of beamed gamma-ray bursts. Astrophys. J. 524, L43–L46 (1999)
Gruzinov, A. Strongly polarized optical afterglows of gamma-ray bursts. Astrophys. J. 525, L29–L31 (1999)
Ghisellini, G. & Lazzati, D. Polarization light curves and position angle variation of beamed gamma-ray bursts. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 309, L7–L11 (1999)
Hjorth, J. et al. Polarimetric constraints on the optical afterglow emission from GRB 990123. Science 283, 2073–2075 (1999)
Wijers, R. A. M. J. et al. Detection of polarization in the afterglow of GRB 990510 with the ESO Very Large Telescope. Astrophys. J. 523, L33–L36 (1999)
Covino, S. et al. GRB 990510: linearly polarized radiation from a fireball. Astron. Astrophys. 348, L1–L4 (1999)
Rol, E. et al. GRB 990712: First indication of polarization variability in a gamma-ray burst afterglow. Astrophys. J. 544, 707–711 (2000)
Björnsson, G., Hjorth, J., Pedersen, K. & Fynbo, J. U. The afterglow of GRB 010222: A case of continuous energy injection. Astrophys. J. 579, L59–L62 (2002)
Masetti, N. et al. Optical and near-infrared observations of the GRB 020405 afterglow. Astron. Astrophys. 404, 465–481 (2003)
Covino, S. et al. Polarization evolution of the GRB 020405 afterglow. Astron. Astrophys. 400, L9–L12 (2003)
Bersier, D. et al. The strongly polarized afterglow of GRB 020405. Astrophys. J. 583, L63–L66 (2003)
Barth, A. et al. Optical spectropolarimetry of the GRB 020813. Astrophys. J. 584, L47–L51 (2003)
Rol, E. et al. Variable polarization in the optical afterglow of GRB 021004. Astron. Astrophys. 405, L23–L27 (2003)
Coburn, W. & Boggs, S. E. Polarization of the prompt γ-ray emission from the γ-ray burst of 6 December 2002. Nature 423, 415–417 (2003)
Vanderspek, R., Crew, G., Doty, J., Villasenor, J. & Monelly, G. GRB 030329 (= H2652): A long, extremely bright GRB localized by HETE WXM and SCX. GCN Circ. 1997 (2003)
Price, P. A. et al. The bright optical afterglow of the nearby γ-ray burst of 29 March 2003. Nature 423, 844–847 (2003)
Uemura, M. et al. Structure in the early afterglow light curve of the γ-ray burst of 29 March 2003. Nature 423, 843–844 (2003)
Greiner, J. et al. Redshift of GRB 030329. GCN Circ. 2020 (2003)
Kouveliotou, C. et al. Identification of two classes of gamma-ray bursts. Astrophys. J. 413, L101–L104 (1993)
Burenin, R. et al. First hours of the GRB 030329 optical afterglow. Astron. Lett. 29 (9), 1–6 (2003)
Marshall, F. E., Markwardt, C. & Swank, J. H. GRB 030329: fading X-ray afterglow with RXTE. GCN Circ. 2052 (2003)
Tiengo, A. et al. The X-ray afterglow of GRB 030329. Astron. Astrophys. 409, 983–987 (2003)
Wang, L., Howell, D. A., Höflich, P. & Wheeler, J. C. Bipolar supernova explosions. Astrophys. J. 550, 1030–1035 (2001)
Leonard, D. C., Filippenko, A. V., Chornock, R. & Foley, R. J. Photospheric-phase spectropolarimetry and nebular-phase spectroscopy of the peculiar type Ic supernova 2002ap. Publ. Astron. Soc. Pacif. 114, 1333–1348 (2002)
This work is primarily based on observations collected at ESO, Chile, with additional data obtained at the German-Spanish Astronomical Centre Calar Alto, operated by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, jointly with the Spanish National Commission for Astronomy, the NOT on La Palma, Canary Islands, and the Observatorio Astronomico National, San Pedro, Mexico. We are grateful to the staff at the Paranal, Calar Alto and NOT observatories, in particular A. Aguirre, M. Alises, S. Hubrig, A. O. Jaunsen, C. Ledoux, S. Pedraz, T. Szeifert, L. Vanzi and P. Vreeswijk for obtaining the service mode data reported here.
The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.
About this article
Cite this article
Greiner, J., Klose, S., Reinsch, K. et al. Evolution of the polarization of the optical afterglow of the γ-ray burst GRB030329. Nature 426, 157–159 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature02077
Spectropolarimetric analysis of prompt emission of GRB 160325A: jet with evolving environment of internal shocks
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2020)
Polarization Constraints on the Geometry of the Magnetic Field in the External Shock of Gamma-Ray Bursts
The Astrophysical Journal (2020)
The Astrophysical Journal (2019)
The Astrophysical Journal (2018)